The Dorian Note

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almann1979
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The Dorian Note

Post by almann1979 » May 4th, 2010, 2:57 am

I was watching a video (no link, sorry), by marty freidman called melodic control.
An exellent lead guitar tutorial if anybody can find a copy, he spends all the video talking about target notes etc and how to use them to make melodic and exotic solo's - a real break from those "let me show you this lick" type video's.

In one section he describes how he likes to play a B over a D minor chord - I interpreted this to mean the "dorian note" and he made it sound very nice.

however, he didnt specifiy a key to use this in, he only played the d minor chord and the B on top. However he did say that whenever he knows a D minor is approaching he actively searches for a B - which i took to mean as "this should work in all keys".

Last night i thought i would give this a go, and when i was practing my arpeggio's i tried to add the "dorian note" whenever a minor chord came along - eg so i would play F# over A minor. but it sounded out of place, not nice at all.

so, i guess these are my questions

1) should the F# work over an A minor chord in all keys or
2) am i restricted by the key i am in, as to which minor chords i can do this on - and if so, how can i tell which minor chords in the progression would be suitable to use these notes over and which ones wouldnt.

p.s I realise it is not called the Dorian note - it is just a name i use in my head to remember it.

thanks - i hope i have made sense in trying to explain it.
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by Fretsource » May 4th, 2010, 3:59 am

I guess he likes the sound of minor 6th chords as that's what you get if you add B above Dm or F# above Am. But you're right, it's not going to sound the same in all keys.
The chord A minor occurs naturally in the keys of C G F and their relative minor keys: Am, Em and Dm. G and Em already contain F# so it's fine there and won't sound out of place. A Dorian also has it and so does A minor (from the melodic minor scale) but the others don't.
That doesn't mean it can't be used but it's a chromatic note in those keys and so can easily sound 'out of place' unless there's a suitable context. For example in the key of F, using the chord progression Bb - Am - Gm (IV-iii-ii), by adding F# above the A minor, it can act as a chromatic passing tone between the F of Bb major and the G of G minor.
Last edited by Fretsource on May 4th, 2010, 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by NoteBoat » May 4th, 2010, 4:36 am

I see Fretsource beat me to it while I was being wordy... I'll post mine anyway

Playing a B over a Dm chord creates a Dm6 sound (1-b3-5-6).

If you were in the key of Dm, it might give you a Dorian sound, since B natural is found in the Dorian scale. But it might also give you a melodic minor scale, or a "jazz minor" scale. It depends on what the rest of the notes you're playing are.

So...

1. Yes, if you hear it in isolation it'll give you the m6 sound over any minor chord, regardless of key.

2. Maybe.

Whether something sounds good or not to our ears is a really complex thing. There are no "bad" notes. But if what we hear sounds out of place, there might have been a better choice. And that better choice doesn't have to be a different pitch - all other things being equal, our ears will better accept a dissonance if it's short in duration, if it's not accented, if it falls between two "good" notes in sequence (as a passing tone), etc. So if you like the sounds in the video, but you don't like what you got, you could start by looking at what else he might have done differently with the pitch.

Then there's memory. As I said, there are no "bad" notes. You can play ANY single note and it'll sound pure and clean... it's only going to sound out of place when we introduce more notes to the mix. Then our ears have a frame of reference for judging whether a note 'works' or not. Guitarists generally think vertically about harmony - that is, we worry about whether a note works over a specific chord. But harmony also works horizontally - with the same chord, the same note will sound better or worse depending on what other notes we've just played. Our memory of the other stuff tells us if a note fits with what we've just heard... which is why it's impossible to draw concrete works-in-all-situation rules.

So how we feel about the m6 sound will depend on what else has just been played - not just the chord progression, but the other scale notes you've used, how you've shaped your melodic line, where you've put your tensions and releases, and how this particular sound fits in with what you've done so far. Without being able to analyze your specific line, I'll just draw some generalities - they won't hold true in all cases, but they will be in many.

If it's the I chord, you'll generally get a Dorian type of sound. If you're consistent in using B natural, it'll sound ok - if you're inconsistent, it might not.

If it's the ii (If you're playing B over Dm in the key of C), it's the leading tone of the scale - resolve it up to C and your ears will hear it as part of the diatonic scale, and the resolution creates Dm7 if you're still over the same chord.

If it's the iii chord (key of Bb), you've got b9 against the key (because you're in Bb, in theory you're playing Cb). That's a dissonance, and you'll need to treat it carefully.

If it's the iv chord (key of Am), the B is part of the diatonic scale, and it should work pretty well in most circumstances.

If it's the V (key of Gm) you wouldn't usually have a Dm chord, but if you do... well, almost anything will work. We generally expect dissonances with a V chord, and our ears are more forgiving of "bad" notes over V. And that's even more true of minor keys than major ones!

If it's the vi (key of F), your overall sound will tend to Lydian, because that B natural is the #4 in F. As with the Dorian sound, consistent use is important.

If it's the vii (key of Eb), you'll be pretty dissonant - depending on where the chord goes, our ears may fill in a missing note and hear the chord as Bbmaj7 (Bb-D-F-A), and you're making it a Bbmaj7b9 - again, the note would be considered Cb.

But memory is a factor in two ways: we judge how well a note 'fits' by what we've just heard... and if what we hear doesn't 'fit', we sort of store that sound in our memory, and if we hear it again we may revise our opinion. I demonstrate that all the time with students: I'll play a dissonance over a chord and hold it; they'll say the note doesn't work. Then I'll play a solo that puts the same dissonance at the center of the action, and suddenly it does... our ears get used to it, and come to expect it. So the final thing you might try is to use the note more often, and to play it with conviction. You might be surprised at how well it fits when you make it clear that you're doing exactly what you mean to do.

(I was going to keep going with other things to consider, like anticipating the next chord in the progression... but this is probably plenty to get you started!)
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by almann1979 » May 4th, 2010, 5:17 am

Thanks to both of you - there is a lot to take in there :D
i think i am going to try practicing this with progressions where the minor chord is the 1 or 6, as they sound the easiest from what you have said. when i am a bit more fluent, I will give it a go in other progressions.

thanks again. Al
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by chrisj » May 15th, 2010, 2:25 pm

You have to be weary of the, as you say, "dorian note." You of course are correct, that the note is the major 6th. But you also have to understand that this major 6 in a minor chord is only typical of the "ii" chord. Let's assume you understand the diatonic system and for example's sake, let's look at the key of C:

C-Dmin-Emin-F-G-Amin-Bdim: I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio

The ii chord contains the major 6th while the iii and vi chord have minor 6ths. The mode for the ii chord is the dorian mode, which is spelled: D-E-F-G-A-B-C: 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7

You can see that the interval between 1 and 6 is major. If you looked at the aolian and phrygian mode, you would find a minor 6th interval. Basically you want to play the maj6 interval on the chord when the chord is a ii chord. Now in a modal situation, in other words, you are soloing over a one-chord vamp, and in this case a Dmin7 chord, you can assume that this chord is being treated as a ii chord and play dorian. You should practice this by simply soloing using a C major scale over the Dmin7 chord. When you ear gets used to the sound of this mode, you can start playing and holding the 6th. Your ear will accept it even better if you change the chord to a Dmin6 or Dmin13 chord.

Your ear will not like the sound of the major 6 over a normal minor progression, ie: aolian. You can find more here if you are interested: http://chrisjuergensen.com/modes_1.htm

-CJ

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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by NoteBoat » May 15th, 2010, 4:40 pm

I'm going to disagree with that on a couple of points...

1. The ii chord does not contain a major 6. If it did, it would be a ii6 chord, not ii or ii7. What chrisj is actually saying is that if you hear the ii chord within the context of a major scale, you'll expect a major 6th.

But crafting a solo in a 'mode' means you're using notes that aren't expected in the major/minor system. Although the vi chord doesn't have a major sixth if your yardstick is the major scale, it will if you're using the Lydian mode of the tonic (the I chord). This is one of the traps that people fall into when using modes - they're trying to fit modal thinking into a major/minor system, and modes are outside[/i] that system.

2. A "modal situation" is not playing a scale over a one chord (or even a two chord) vamp. Modal music tends to avoid the V7 chord, because an authentic cadence tends to get in the way of establishing a a mode - the cadence creates a pull towards the major/minor system, and the mode doesn't agree with it.

While it's true that some players use modes this way, that's not really modal music. It's basically using a tone set - your scale - over a harmonic drone - your chord. Modal music is a lot richer than that, and encompasses everything from 16th century counterpoint to modal jazz.

A couple more things... I looked at Chris' link, and watched his video. Unlike most (seriously, most!) players who follow this line of thinking, his playing actually is modal. In the video, particularly in the 2nd half where he's soloing over a two-chord progression, he gets it.

But his explanations on the page fall a little short. He starts out by saying you need to know "all five" major scale fingerings. I take exception to that on two counts: first, there are more like 15 - and I'm guessing he knows there are more than five, because in the video he's using scale fingerings that are not shown in the five boxes at the top of the page. Five fingerings is the "CAGED" system - which is one way to look at the fretboard, but it's got limitations. Second, you only need to know one fingering to start using the Dorian (or any other) scale - because it's not the fingering you use, it's the notes you choose.

The biggest problem I have with teaching the Dorian as "the major scale down a whole step" is that you're now stuck referencing another scale (the major) with a different tonic (a whole step lower). That's what messes up most students - thinking in a different key than you're playing in. In the video, Chris says that you need to be aware of the chord tones... and while that's true, being aware of the root note is more important, at least in my opinion, because that's the only thing that separates one mode from another.

Chris' approach clearly works for him. The way he's structuring his lines during the second half of the video is basically identical - musically - to the approach I take in handling a modal jazz piece. But we clearly think about it differently. In my view, thinking about modes as altered scales (rather than 'displaced' scales) is the better approach... partly because it's more direct - you think in the key you're actually in - and partly because it's more versatile - you'll be able to apply modal playing to things more complicated than two-chord vamps.

And it's really not that hard to do. In fact, the 'simplified' approach that Chris and others teaches leaves you with just as much to remember: the Dorian is down a whole step, the Phrygian is down two whole steps, etc. In my thinking, the Dorian mode is the natural minor with a #6, the Phrygian is natural minor with b2, the Lydian is the major scale with #4, and the mixolydian is major with b7. It's no more work to learn them that way, and it keeps your thinking in the right key.
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by chrisj » May 15th, 2010, 6:02 pm

I have to disagree on a few points here as well. Granted, this is music not rocket science but I'll clarify a few things.

"The ii chord does not contain a major 6" - it certainly does, or at least can. Or at least is implied by the chord's inherent, or perceived harmony. Granted, a min or min7 chord could be played, but a min6, min9, min11, min13, min69, minadd9 could also be played. Regardless, the fact that the definitive chord, derived from the dorian mode contains a 6th, is the key to understanding what the dorian mode is.

"A "modal situation" is not playing a scale over a one chord vamp" - It certainly is. That is what we generally think of modal music as. Like "Impressions" or "So What." Modal music happens when we perceive the tonal center for any amount of time, the modal chord.

"Modal music tends to avoid the V7 chord" - Very strange comment, especially considering that there is what we call the mixolydian mode, based on the V7 chord. Matter of fact, Frank Gambale, who I have had the pleasure of teaching with and studying from would tell you that the easiest way to come up with a modal progression is to simply play the IV and V chord over the modal root. In other words, if you want to play F lydian, play a vamp of F and G over an F bass note. If you want to practice G mixolydian, play over a F/G - G vamp. If anything, to be modal, you should avoid "I" chords as the "I" chord has the most harmonic gravity and not the V chord. A ii-V progression is fine for dorian, especially if it doesn't resolve to the I chord.

"He starts out by saying you need to know "all five" major scale fingerings." - You're nitpicking here. I'm saying that you should know your major scales and I simply listed the generally accepted generic five that are taught at the several institutions that I teach at. I can't imagine that anyone only knowing one scale pattern, would have use for trying to play modes. And if you take exception to my "five" patterns, I would take exception to your 15 as there are more major scale patterns than one can count in any one key. Take a look at the lesson I wrote for GN this week and and you'll see that. There are five of the generic patterns in which I am referring to. But there are 7 2nps patterns, 7 3nps patterns, 7 4nps patterns, and countless others if you consider certain pairs and combinations of strings and open-string hybrid scales.

"Dorian as "the major scale down a whole step" is that you're now stuck referencing another scale" - true to some extent but the method I teach is a common method taught by many exceptional players/teachers such as Scott Henderson, Frank or Scofield. It is what we call the derivative method and why it works as a teaching tool is because the other method, what we call the parallel method forces students to learn too any patterns. They find it too much to learn several patterns of the same major scale with different modal roots. Granted, the parallel point of view has to be understood for one to get a grasp on what the mode really is, but my experience tells me that students move a lot quicker when they learn how to find the mode using the derivative method. They want to play the dorian mode, all they have to do is play the major scale down a whole step over a minor chord. D dorian = C major, F# dorian = E major. They play the mode over the proper chord, their ears learn to hear the mode and can make use of it. I'll state it again, at one point, they have to know dorian as a scale with these intervals: 1-2-b3-4-5-6. But as a teacher, I much prefer that they are able to find it and play it first. With a little prodding, I can make them adhere to targeting chord tones, and chord tones are what is important, not necessarily roots.

So basically, D dorian is a C major scale played over a Dmin7 chord (when this chord is perceived as the tonal center), the improvisor should be paying attention the the root, 3rd and 5th of the chord in question.

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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by Fretsource » May 16th, 2010, 5:56 am

This has got me wondering if jazzers use the Roman numeral system differently than their classical counterparts when it comes to interpreting modes. As a non jazzer myself, my own interest in modes comes from studying and teaching modal music of the Renaissance period. Typically, this type of music is analysed according to standard 'classical' procedures, in which the tonal centre chord is always designated as i (or I,). So referring to a Dm - G vamp as a ii-V progression, in which Dm is perceived as the tonal centre, is a contradiction in terms of classical analysis, which would label this progression as i - IV.
Or is this a feature of what Chris refers to as the 'derivative' method'? Is it the case that using that method, Dm - G is labelled ii -V, but in the 'parallel' method, it's referred to as i - IV? (assuming Dm is the tonal centre in both cases).

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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by NoteBoat » May 16th, 2010, 6:21 am

Chris:

1. The ii chord does not contain a 6. If it does, it's ii6. You are confusing chords with non-harmonic tones - notes that can be played over a chord, but are not contained in it. The ear may hear ii6 as a transient event, but in music theory and harmonic analysis it's not part of the chord - check any standard text used in any conservatory. Perpetuating statements like this is one reason that guitarists have a reputation for not understanding music theory - guitarists always seem to be looking for a shortcut, and end up with 'theory lite'.

2. "Modal chord" is another misleading bit of pseudo-theory. Modes are scales, not chords. Yes, modal jazz players use modes by transposing them as the chord root changes; that's what Davis and Coletrane do, and what you did in the video. But that hardly makes it the definition of all modal music - Coletrane's performance of "My Favorite Things" is also modal. Although the solo section does include a couple of long vamp sections, it's also modal over the standard progression. And what are we to make of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage", a classic example of a mode applied over a non-tertian (quartal harmony) chord progression?

3. Modal music does avoid the V7 chord in a progression. Neither of your examples - So What or Impressions - uses a dominant 7th. The reason is that a V7 chord will naturally lead to I, giving you an authentic cadence that creates a major tonality. If you want your tonality to be something other than major - for example, Lydian - you'd avoid a V7 in the progression. A great deal of music, especially folk music, uses mixolyidian for the melody, and these tunes will use a V triad instead of a V7 chord, avoiding the dominant tension between the chord's 3rd and 7th, and minimizing conflict between the harmonic center of the chords versus the harmonic center of the melody.

Modes don't avoid the I chord. In fact, the examples you cite, the practice exercises you cite, and the playing you do on the video all use the I chord exclusively! The use of Roman numerals in chord analysis always relates to the tonic root of the music, not the tonic of the key signature. When you're playing in D Dorian, and you're using a D minor chord, your chord "progression" is in D minor, since that's the only tonal reference you have. And when you're in D minor, Dm IS the I chord! In your playing on the video, you're changing keys as the chord changes in the vamp, which is one way (but not the only way) to handle modal jazz - treating each chord as the I chord of a new key.

In your way of thinking, yes - a mixolydian would be played over a dominant chord. But unless that chord is a vamp, it's going somewhere else - and a true chord progression that includes a V7 chord is not generally suitable for modal playing.

4. I said there were "more like" 15 major scale fingerings - it's not a hard number, and it's individual - a person with greater reach will be able to play more fingerings. But you're wrong about not having more fingerings than notes in the key because of the way the guitar is tuned - you're thinking only of the notes on one string. For a clear example to prove there are more, here's C major in 5th position:

Code: Select all

| 5 |   | 7 | 8 |   |          |   | 5 |   | 7 | 8 |
| 5 | 6 |   | 8 |   |          |   | 5 | 6 |   | 8 |
| 5 |   | 7 |   |   |          | 4 | 5 |   | 7 |   |
| 5 |   | 7 |   | 9 |          |   | 5 |   | 7 |   |
| 5 |   | 7 | 8 |   |          |   | 5 |   | 7 | 8 |
|   |   |   | 8 |   |          |   |   |   |   | 8 |
That's clearly two different fingerings available in one position. A major scale will contain notes on 11 different frets - if you're in C, only the 11th fret has no notes in the key. That means there are 11 possible places to position your first finger, and some of these (like that example) will lead to more than one fingering.

Because of the guitar tuning, the number of notes per string is fairly meaningless - that would include all the 'diagonal' fingerings that utilize multiple positions. A better way to find the number of possible fingerings is to consider the fact that we have four fingers available, and any of these fingers can play the root note of a fingering in position. There are 10 places we can play a root note/finger combination before we get a duplicate (3rd finger/4th string duplicates 1st finger/6th string), so we've got ten different starting points. And as I showed with 4th finger/6th string, some lead to more than one possible fingering. And that leads me to the roughly 15 that can be used.

I have no quarrel with your statement that a guitarist should know the fretboard. However, it's not a prerequisite for exploring other sounds - because a mode (or any other scale) can be played within an octave, and because any position encompasses more than one octave, not knowing the entire fretboard is no barrier to exploring modes.

5. I know your method is a common one; it's the way I was first taught. But I've been teaching myself for well over 30 years now, and I find students are better able to use alternative scales by relating them to the scale root, rather than a derivative. And as I said, it is no more to learn and remember - in your method, you learn to play a different scale, and must remember how many frets to move the fingering; in mine, you play a scale you already know, and must remember what note to change. The four commonly used modes (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian) each differ from a major or natural minor scale by only one note.
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by chrisj » May 16th, 2010, 7:55 am

We'll just have to agree to somewhat disagree and that's ok with me because as I said, it's music, not brain surgery. But:

"The ii chord does not contain a 6" - your talking roman numerals here and nothing else. I'm saying that a min6 is a possibility for a ii chord and not a possibility for a iii or a vi chord. The original question has nothing to do with analysis using roman numerals, it was regarding if a major 6 interval works on a minor chord. So if you want to nitpick, let me say it this way, the chord built on the second degree of the major scale's diatonic system, when harmonized to a 6 chord, is a min6 chord. And to make you happy, when analyzing it in a music conservatory, you would be best to notate it as a ii6 chord or you might fail your theory 1 final. Yes a triad would be notated: ii and a min7 would be notated a ii7 chord, and so forth and so on. Believe me I spent a few years in school myself doing just that.

Maiden Voyage is a series of dominant sus chords, whether the chords are voiced in 4ths or not, that is what it is. Generally speaking, we play mixolydian scales over the chords, or at least that is the conventional thinking.

Modal Music has nothing to do with avoiding the V7 chord. It is where you hear the tonal center. If the V7 chord was to go to a "I" chord, you would hear the tonal center as the tonic of the key, thus diluting the modal effect. Too many diatonic chords will result in turning modal harmony to functional harmony.

Yes, modal music makes the tonal center something other than the tonic of the key. Whether you want to call what was once a ii chord, a i chord is once again a matter of semantics.

I think that the point is being able to play music, and how one gets to that point is different for everyone. I certainly agree that knowing that the lydian mode is a major scale with a #4 is a must for understanding what it is and how it is used, but it doesn't necessarily make it easier to play when you are looking at a chart and it says "solo" written next to a Cmaj7#11 chord. To understand modes theoretically, you are correct in teaching your students to think parallel, but to quote from "The Advancing Guitarist" (I assume you have read the book), it is difficult to think parallel when you need to play a scale with more than one or two alterations (I mean to understand the altered mode, knowing that it is spelled 1-b2-#2-3-b5-#5-b7 tells you what it is but I would hate to have to play one by arranging the intervals of a major scale, it is much faster to think MM up a half step).

I think were talking about two different things here, or at least we are slightly off center to each other's argument simply because I am talking about application and you are talking pen and pencil. As we say, the proof is in the pudding. I don't think about it either way very much anymore, I just play for the most part, but I used the derivative method to play the mode in my earlier days, not understand it theoretically. so did countless of other greats that I personally know (I won't be a name dropper).

Also, I'm not sure what musicians you hang around with but my experience is that guitarists are usually more theory savvy than most other musicians. I toured with a big band for a year and the trumpet players were always bugging me about what scale they should play on this or that chord.

"in your method, you learn to play a different scale, and must remember how many frets to move the fingering" - No, it has nothing to do with moving the fingering. You simply learn the rule for the mode, for example, lydian = the major scale up a 5th. Cmaj7#11 = G major, if you can play your major scales, you can play your modal scale as well. Anyone who has studied a little bit of theory should know their intervals well enough to do this. C lydian = G major, E lydian = B major, etc. Phrygian = major scale down a maj3. You get a E(b9)sus chord, you need to play E phrygian, you play a C major scale, paying attention to the chord tones. Granted you should know that phrygian is spelled: 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7, that is how you know that a (b9)sus4 chord is screaming for you to play phrygian but I'm not sure that thinking: "minor scale but lower the 2" is that easy when you are on the spot.

I'm not sure that "modal chord" is a good term or not, but there are definitive chords in relation to modes. In other words, a maj7#11 is a definitive lydian chord, as there are no other scale choices. Obviously a maj7 chord is not definitive.

I generally find that students at MI or TSM where I teach can often write out their modes with little problem but can't improvise using them until I show them how to come up with the proper scale on the spot using the derivative method. All methods have their drawbacks and inherent problems, the more angles you can see from the better.

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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by almann1979 » May 16th, 2010, 10:15 am

Thanks to you both for your helpful comments - some of your comments in your debate hacve gone a little over my head as my theory is not sharpe enough to keep up with everything you are saying yet - but i do have a question to add if i may.

on the video chris, you say "if your playing in Dm you have a choice of scales to solo with", and obviously you demonstrate dorian as one of them. Is it just enough for the chord progression to be in Dminor for this to work, or will it only work over certain Dminor chord progressions?
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by chrisj » May 16th, 2010, 12:22 pm

Sorry, got a little sidetracked...

No, D minor as a key is something different than D dorian. Let's look at a D minor chord from two perspectives. You'll have to become familiar with the diatonic system for you to ultimately make sense of this, so here we go. D minor's relative key is F major. The F major scale is spelled like this: F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E. If we harmonize the scale, meaning make chords from the scale we get a distinct set of seven chords. Look at the scale up there, we'll take the F, A and C notes first and stack them on top of each other: F-A-C, this is an F major triad and we'll give it a Roman numeral: I (our "one" chord). Next we'll do the same thing for the G, Bb and D notes. This is a Gmin chord. If we do this for all the chords in the key, we get these seven triads:

F - Gmin - Amin - Bb - C - Dmin - Edim

This is your diatonic pallet of chords for the key of F. When we give them Roman numerals, we get this:

I - ii - iii - IV - V - vi -viio
(now just so I don't get anybody mad at me, let me tell you that the college or school you went to has slightly different versions of the Roman numeral system of analysis, but it doesn't really matter because the order and quality of each chord will not change, and the order is: major - minor - minor - major - major - minor and diminished).

There are three minor chords up there right? The vi chord is the tonal center for D minor. It has a modal name as well, aolian. So if you build a chord progression in the key of D minor, you build from this set of chords and do it in a way that the vi chord is perceived as the tonal center. Anything that feels like returning to Dmin is bringing you home, like: Dmin-Bb-F-G, or Dmin-C-Bb-C (wrong key but "Stairway to Heaven" or "All Along the Watchtower"). When you improvise you will be playing the D aolian scale which is the same as the F major scale. vi = Aolian. You should think of the scale D minor as well: D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C (basically D to D in an F amjor scale).

Now dorian is a different mode, dorian is based on the ii chord. I'll save you some trouble, the Dmin as a ii chord is the key of C major. Here is the diatonic pallet for C major:

C - Dmin - Emin - F - G - Amin - B dim
I - ii - iii - IV -V - vi - viio

D minor is the ii chord, and the ii chord is the home of dorian, so you have to be working from this chord, within this pallet for something to be D dorian. Now with modal music, you don't want to mix things up too much, what I mean is use too many chords in the progression. The more chords you use, the more your ear stops hearing your tonal center (as in this case, D dorian) and start hearing the progression as C major. Play a Dmin-G progression or just a Dmin one-chord vamp and play a D-E-F-G-A-B-C scale (D to D in C major), you will be playing dorian.

That is why, on my video I simply play over a one-chord vamp, measure after measure of Dmin. You can try to come up with some different progressions but simple is best: ii-iii or ii-V. A progression like Dmin-C could be perceived as either a ii-I or in C major (dorian) or a vi-V in F major. Which one will work better? Try both and see what your ear says.

The iii chord is also minor, and a Dmin chord is the iii chord in Bb:

Bb - Cmin - Dmin - Eb - F - Gmin - A dim
I - ii - iii - IV - V - vi - viio

The iii chord is the home base for phrygian, so the progression, as simple as you can keep it, should be based around this chord to be phrygian: just Dmin or Dmin-Eb, you will want to be playing a Bb major scale here (or D to D in a Bb major scale). This is phrygian.

If what you have to play over is just a one-chord vamp, you can use any of the three scales.

It's 4:30 in the morning in Tokyo and jet lag woke me up, so please excuse any typos.

-CJ

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almann1979
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by almann1979 » May 17th, 2010, 12:47 am

aha. Thanks very much.
so, basically, for somebody like me who is trying to get familiar with modes, it will be far easier, if i just practice it over chord progressions with only a couple of chords in them, so i can keep the modal feel, and for D dorian, the chords should really be built from a scale which has the Dm as the ii chord?

i shall give this some practice tonight. thanks.
"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)

chrisj
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by chrisj » May 17th, 2010, 8:22 am

Yes, that's about right. Make it easy on yourself and let your ears become familiar with the sound first. Play a D dorian scale over a Dmin7 - G7 progression or a Dmin7 vamp. It is just a C major scale with emphasis on the D note.

-CJ

gsasko
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Re: The Dorian Note

Post by gsasko » April 22nd, 2017, 5:20 am

Oh man, you two lol. I've been playing for about 8 years and love guitar and try to learn as much I possibly can. I read all the "points - counterpoints" at the risk of a headache. Reminded me of the old SNL routine with Jane Curtain debates ("Jane you ignorant slut.."). Both of you have prodigious insights into theory and playing but the expression of it made my head spin. It would have made Coltrane's head spin. I was so happy to read "let's just agree to disagree." It certainly was "rocket science" as expressed lol.

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